Shortly before his untimely death, James Gandolfini was poised to make a return to HBO in the limited series Criminal Justice. The actor’s passion project was put in limbo after he passed, but HBO has now found a way to move forward with the miniseries and honor Gandolfini’s legacy. Creator/producer Steven Zaillian and HBO worked hard to find a replacement that would befit a man of Gandolfini’s talent, and now that Robert De Niro has agreed to take over the role. The crime story takes place in New York City and revolves around an ambulance-chasing attorney who gets in over his head when he takes on the case of a Pakistani accused of murdering a girl on the Upper West Side. Hit the jump for more.
FilmDistrict has released a behind-the-scenes featurette for director Spike Lee’s Oldboy, and it reveals a great deal of new footage from the reimagining of Park Chan-wook’s revenge classic. The story centers on a man (Josh Brolin) who is kidnapped for mysterious reasons, and is released twenty years later with no explanation. Once free, he goes on a mission to find his captor and take revenge. In this featurette we see Lee, screenwriter Mark Protosevich, and the main cast discuss the film and Lee’s take on the material. We also get to see to some very promising new footage, including a glimpse at Brolin’s iteration of the famous hallway fight scene.
Hit the jump to watch the featurette. The film also stars Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Imperioli, Lance Reddick, James Ransone, and Rami Malek. Oldboy opens on November 27th.
Focus Features has slated Jason Bateman’s directorial debut Bad Words for a limited release on March 21, 2014, followed by a wide expansion on March 28th where it will square off against the futuristic thriller Divergent, the sequel Muppets Most Wanted, and Joe Carnahan’s action comedy Stretch. Bateman stars in the very R-rated comedy as a man who, through a loophole, enters a nationwide 8th grade spelling bee and proceeds to the finals—much to the dismay of the parents and organizers. I caught the film at TIFF and it’s really funny, but Bateman does not hold back when it comes to his character saying terrible, terrible things to his fellow child contestants. Read Matt’s review here and watch Steve’s interviews with Bateman here and co-star Kathryn Hahn here.
Additionally, Sony has shifted the release date of director Will Gluck’s (Easy A) musical remake Annie from December 25, 2014 to December 19th. The Quvenzhané Wallis-fronted pic will now square off against the third and final (?) entry in Peter Jackson’s trilogy, The Hobbit: There and Back Again.
In a little under two years, we will have a new Batman onscreen by way of Ben Affleck. It’s a very short turnaround considering that Christopher Nolan just finished his Dark Knight Trilogy last year, but Warner Bros. clearly wants to keep the momentum it gained with Man of Steel, and bringing Batman back into the fold appears to be part of that plan. Let’s not forget, though, that Nolan’s new vision for Batman with Batman Begins was a complete 180 from any Batman iteration—or superhero movie in general—that we had seen before, and the process of casting the caped crusader was the most important piece of the puzzle.
The new Blu-ray set The Dark Knight Trilogy: Ultimate Collector’s Edition went on sale earlier this week, and one of the many new extras found on the set is a retrospective look at casting the Batman, featuring interviews with everyone from Nolan to Damon Lindelof. A portion of that feature has made its way online, and after the jump you can watch Christian Bale, Cillian Murphy, and Eion Bailey (Band of Brothers) audition for the lead role and Nolan himself discuss the lengthy casting process.
Though the news of a celebration concert for Inside Llewyn Davis was certainly exciting, it came with a fair amount of disappointment to those that would be unable to attend the one night only concert in NYC. Now a saving grace has appeared, as Showtime has announced that it will air the benefit concert “Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis” on December 13th for those that can’t be in attendance. Produced by writers/directors Joel and Ethan Coen, legendary music producer T Bone Burnett, and producer Scott Rudin, the concert benefits the National Recording Preservation Foundation.
The sure-to-be-fantastic event will feature performances by The Avett Brothers, Marcus Mumford, Jack White, Conor Oberst, Patti Smith, Colin Meloy, Milk Carton Kids, and many more, including Inside Llewyn Davis stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, and Stark Sands. The concert takes place on September 29th and Inside Llewyn Davis opens in theaters on December 6th. Hit the jump for the press release.
2013 is proving to be a very good year for movies. Not only do we still have new films from Joel and Ethan Coen, Alfonso Cuaron, and David O. Russell to look forward to, we’ve also got a return to dark comedy territory from filmmaker Martin Scorsese on the docket. Scorsese has been developing The Wolf of Wall Street for years and the film has finally come to fruition, and the trailer for the pic promises a nutty look at 90s excess buoyed by some big performances from Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, and Matthew McConaughey.
Though the film is poised to be released on November 15th, we may have to wait a bit longer to see Scorsese’s new film. Apparently the filmmaker is still not finished with the pic and a release date delay is looking very likely, with Paramount even considering a possible move to 2014. Hit the jump for more, including how this may affect the thriller Jack Ryan.
Tuesday evening’s TV ratings are in. Here’s a brief look at the highlights:
- ABC’s series premiere of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pulled in a massive 4.7 rating in the 18-49 demo, making it the best drama series premiere on all of TV since 2009’s V. The pilot drew a strong 11.9 million total viewers, which falls just short of The Blacklist’s 12.6 million on Monday.
- Opposite S.H.I.E.L.D., Fox’s comedy slate plunged pretty hard, with Brooklyn Nine-Nine plummetting 30% from last week’s 2.6 rating to a 1.8 in the demo and New Girl dropping 28% from last week’s 2.9 rating to a 2.1 rating.
- On the flipside, ABC’s comedy lineup benefited from S.H.I.E.L.D.’s massive take with new series The Goldbergs hitting a 3.2 rating and 9.1 million viewers.
Hit the jump for the full ratings report for Tuesday, September 24th, including Dads, The Mindy Project, NCIS, Person of Interest, Chicago Fire, and Trophy Wife.
The first trailer for the romantic comedy A Case of You has been released online. Directed by Kat Coiro, the film is set within the world of online dating and stars Justin Long as a young writer who tries to impress a girl (Evan Rachel Wood) he meets online with an embellished profile, adjusting his personality to fit her specific likes and dislikes. Long co-wrote and produced the film in addition to starring, and it looks to be a funny and sweet indie with a potentially scene-stealing performance from Peter Dinklage as Long’s roommate.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer. The film also stars Sienna Miller, Brendan Fraser, Busy Phillips, and Keir O’Connell. A Case of You opens in limited release on November 6th.
Ron Howard’s F1 racing drama Rush opens in theaters everywhere this weekend, but the filmmaker is already knee-deep in production on his next film. It was announced today that filming is underway in the UK on Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea, which tells the story of the real life sea disaster of the whaleship Essex, a harrowing ordeal that inspired Herman Melvile’s Moby Dick. In 1819, the ship was rammed by an angry sperm whale in the South Pacific. The surviving crew drifted for 90 days in three tiny whaleboats and encountered disease, hunger, and eventually cannibalism.
We’ve already seen some set photos of Howard’s period-specific sets and ships, and there will likely be a frame story device in the pic since Ben Whishaw has been cast as Melville and Brendan Gleeson is poised to play an older version of Tom Holland’s character. Chris Hemsworth leads a cast that also includes Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, and Jordi Molla. Hit the jump for the full press release, and click here to watch Steve’s recent interview with Howard.
Sony Pictures has just acquired a stranger-than-fiction pitch that will see Jason Segel playing a maple syrup thief. Inspired by real events reported by Anne Sutherland in the Montreal Gazette, the film chronicles the 2012 heist of over $20 million worth of maple syrup that was stolen from Quebec’s Federation of Maple Syrup Producers (this is a real thing that exists). As of now, over 20 individuals have been arrested in connection to the maple syrup crime (also a thing that exists). Segel is attached to star and Horrible Bosses director Seth Gordon is onboard to direct. Hit the jump for more.
Director Stephen Sommers’ (The Mummy) adaptation of the Dean Koontz novel Odd Thomas was filmed over two years ago, but the pic has been in limbo ever since. A financial dispute arose between the film’s independent investors, and a few months ago we learned that the release had been delayed indefinitely. Now Image Entertainment has stepped up and acquired the pic, which will finally be released in theaters in early 2014. The film stars Anton Yelchin as a short-order cook who can communicate with the dead, and it marks decidedly smaller territory for Sommers after his big-budget efforts like G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Willem Dafoe and Addison Timlin also star.
Image Entertainment was behind the releases of Diablo Cody’s Paradise and The Colony so fans shouldn’t exactly expect a huge push in theaters, but at least this film will finally see the light of day. Read the press release after the jump.
FX has ordered a second season of the drama series The Bridge. Starring Demian Bichir and Diane Kruger, the show focuses on tensions at the US-Mexico border as told through the unlikely pairing of an El Paso police officer (Kruger) and a Chihuahua State Policeman (Bichir) who initially team up to track down a serial killer. The 13-episode second season will debut in Summer 2014, while the show’s first season is currently heading toward its season finale on October 2nd. When the show began it was fairly promising, but I felt the character development just wasn’t enough to keep me invested and ended up checking out around episode six or seven.
Nevertheless, I’m interested to hear if those that stuck with it have found this first season to be fulfilling. Hit the jump to read the press release and sound off in the comments below.
Bob and Harvey Weinstein’s newly minted TWC-Dimension label has snatched up another project. The company will team up with Endgame to produce the action comedy Murder Mystery, with The Proposal director Anne Fletcher signing on to take the helm. Written by James Vanderbilt (Zodiac, White House Down), the film revolves around a married couple that takes a long-delayed honeymoon in the hopes of saving their marriage. When one of their fellow cruise ship passengers turns up dead, the two set out across Europe to track down the murderer and maybe salvage their relationship in the process.
Both Kevin Macdonald (State of Play) and John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) were at different points attached to direct Murder Mystery, and Charlize Theron was initially poised to star in Madden’s iteration. Obviously those directors fell off, but Theron is still involved as a producer. Fletcher most recently helmed The Guilt Trip. Hit the jump to read the press release.
Following this year’s Olympus Has Fallen, it appears that Gerard Butler may have found his next project. Deadline reports that the actor is circling director Alex Proyas’ (I, Robot) fantasy adventure pic Gods of Egypt. The pic takes place within the world of Egyptian mythology and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones) is already set to play Horus, who sets out for revenge against his uncle for killing his father, Osiris. Butler is in talks to play Set in the pic, the murderous brother of Osiris and a god of the desert, storms, and foreigners. It’s decidedly fantastical territory and comes just after Proyas’ planned Paradise Lost adaptation was scrapped due to budget issues.
Hit the jump for casting news regarding the Bobby Fischer film Pawn Sacrifice.
Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and Evan Goldberg have long talked about an idea for an R-rated animated film, and now it appears that the raunchy pic will finally come to fruition. Sony Pictures announced today that it will partner with Annapurna Pictures on Sausage Party, which was written by Rogen, Goldberg, Kyle Hunter, and Ariel Shaffir based on an idea by Rogen, Goldberg, and Hill. The story follows one sausage’s “quest to discover the truth about his existence,” as he falls out of a shopping cart and, along with his friends, embarks on a journey to return to his aisle before the 4th of July sale.
Voice casting has yet to be announced, but Conrad Vernon (Shrek 2) and Greg Tiernan will be directing the pic with an eye towards a 2015 release date. Rogen and Goldberg made their directorial debut with this summer’s excellent This Is the End and are currently helming the Rogen/James Franco comedy The Interview. Hit the jump for the full press release.